Bold, thought provoking comedy

By Kristine Semptimphelter
February 20, 2012

“Clybourne Park,” a play by Bruce Norris, is being performed at the Arden Theatre Company.

“Clybourne Park” is a story of a house, a neighborhood and the people who have come and gone for over five decades.

This bold comedy unearths that gentrification is not just black and white.

Arden Theatre Company’s main stage shows “Clybourne Park,” a play by Bruce Norris, winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for drama.

The first act creates a parallel story to the Younger family from Lorraine Hansberry’s play, “A Rasin in the Sun,” while act two imagines what later happens to their new home.

The story begins when Bev and Russ, played by Julian Gibson and Davis Ingram, decide to move from their home in the fictional, all-white Chicago neighborhood of Clybourne Park. When the neighbors of Clybourne Park hear of their impending new neighbors, an African American family, Karl Lindner, played by Steve Pacek, pays them a small visit.

Karl is from the Clybourne Park Improvement Association. He sends out an offer to buy out the house and to insist that Bev and Russ do not let blacks move into the neighborhood.

After some arguments and exchange of inappropriate words, the families never come to an agreement and Bev and Russ move on their way.

With intertwining comedy, the play challenges the preconceptions of characters from diverse backgrounds.

Each character plays multiple roles in the production, making complete reversals between the two acts.

In the second act, the story begins in the year 2009. The house is now being renovated and completly under construction. The two families get together to discuss the renovations and legal issues within the community.

After much argument and racial comments, the act ends in debate. Should whites move into the commnity and establish this huge, distasteful house in the middle of a black community?

Returning to the Arden for Clybourne Park are actors Ian Merrill Peakes, David Ingram, Steve Pacek and Maggie Lakis.

Making their Arden debuts are Julia Gibson, Erika Rose, Helen Hates and Josh Tower.

The creative team is tasked with creating the sought-after home are set designer James Kronzer, costume designer Joshua Schulman and sound designer Jorge Cousineau.


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Kristine Semptimphelter

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